Postpartum mood disorders are a complicated set of behavioral and emotional problems that afflict up to eighty percent of new mothers. This form of depression is termed the " baby blues", but if depression progresses beyond two weeks it is considered postpartum depression. If depression persists it can escalate to dangerous levels, influencing some women to experience psychosis and in rare and tragic cases, to kill their offspring. What causes the onset of postpartum mood disorders are still a matter of research and debate. Some theories relate the disorder to chemical imbalances, how the child was delivered, thyroid disease, social elements, and personal or family history of mood disorders. Most women who suffer from a mood disorder go undiagnosed because there is limited information and counseling given to them before and after birth, and new mothers feel ashamed of their negative feelings.
A Review of Postpartum Disorder.
Having a baby is a joyous time for most women. After childbirth, though, many mothers feel sad, afraid, angry or anxious. Most new mothers have these emotions in a mild form called postpartum blues. Sometimes these feelings are called "baby blues". Postpartum blues almost always go away in a few days, but about ten percent of new mothers have a greater problem called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression lasts longer and is more intense. It often requires counseling and treatment. Postpartum depression can occur after any birth (Duckworth, 2002).
"Baby blues" usually occurs within two weeks of delivery. In a mother without risk factors, it dissipates within weeks. But if this episode lasts two to three months, it can be considered postpartum depression.
Many new mothers are surprised at how weak, alone, and upset they feel after giving birth. Their feelings don't seem to match the feelings they thought they would have. They experience shame and denial for having these negative feelings.